Should this be Chicago Bears offseason plan at WR?

Parker Hurley
Chicago Bears - Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /

If there is one room that the Chicago Bears’ new front office will have to strip down and build back up, that would be the wide receiver room. Luckily for them, there actually is not much stripping at all because almost everyone on the roster is a free agent.

Essentially, the team has Darnell Mooney and is starting from scratch elsewhere. There are plenty of options to fill the wide receiver room, but the key is that they have to make sense.

When looking at your typical three-wide receiver set you have your X, Y, and Z wide receivers. There are a variety of differences between roles, but for the most part, the Y is the slot, while the X is the outside man who lines up on the line of scrimmage. The Z is often outside, but can lineup a step behind the line of scrimmage, which allows them to motion, and gets more plays created for them, while the X is often asked to win on his own.

Darnell Mooney rarely plays the slot, and while he can take the X at times, his role is the best fit for a Z. With that in mind, the Chicago Bears will want the wideouts they bring to match the X and Y personas.

Finding a slot for Chicago Bears in free agency

Some of the top options that lineup in the slot more often than not are Chris Godwin, Christian Kirk, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Isaiah McKenzie. Depending on the price tag, and the long-term commitment that the Chicago Bears want to make, they could be looking at these three as their slot fill-in.

This may make the most sense, because it puts the team in a spot to draft a long-term X, and find their top dog in the draft. Usually, you cannot find an X in free agency, because if they are good enough in that role, they are not going to leave that role.

Finding an X for Chicago Bears in free agency

As noted, it is not easy to find a big X wideout in free agency, but some names that could step into that role would include Davante Adams, Michael Gallup, Emmanuel Sanders, and Odell Beckham. We know the cost for Adams will be extreme, and Beckham may stay where he won a Super Bowl, which really shrinks the list of what the team is looking for. Still, adding Gallup instead of Kirk or Smith-Schuster could have the team wait until later in the draft to find a slot, because it is much easier to find a slot on Day Three than a potential X wideout.

The Z’s who bring a questionable fit to Chicago Bears

Players such as James Washington, Will Fuller, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling may sound appealing, but on the football field, they may also be too redundant of the skill set that Darnell Mooney already has. These four are getting away from their teams because they are a Z, and need a prominent X across from them in most cases.

Darnell Mooney could move into that role, but the team would be smarter to leave him as the Z and bring in a bigger name to open things up for Mooney, rather than hope for a bigger step from Mooney.

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Overall, the best plan may be the first plan, which is signing a slot wideout. If they can get someone like Smith-Schuster for a good price because he is coming off of an injury, that is even better. With Smith-Schuster taking the underneath slot work, they could use a second-round pick on a bigger X wideout, which would make things open up perfectly for the skill set that Mooney already presents.